UEFA suggest five-year plan for UAE clubs to increase attendance figures

UEFA suggest five-year plan for UAE clubs to increase attendance figures
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Published October 12th, 2015 - 15:28 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Uefa marketing manager Noel Mooney called on UAE football clubs to introduce a mandatory five-year plan to reverse dwindling attendance figures
Uefa marketing manager Noel Mooney called on UAE football clubs to introduce a mandatory five-year plan to reverse dwindling attendance figures

Uefa marketing manager Noel Mooney called on UAE football clubs to introduce a mandatory five-year plan to reverse dwindling attendance figures on Monday.

Mooney was speaking at a two-day Asian Football Confederation (AFC) development workshop at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Dubai, which was attended by representatives of all 14 Arabian Gulf League sides. His comments follow a 15.3 per cent decrease in year-on-year attendances in the Arabian Gulf League last season, according to Middle Eastern football website Ahdaaf.me.

“I went to two matches last night and while the UAE has a lot of advantages over other leagues we work with in terms of facilities and resources, people are not physically going to the games,” he said.

To combat this, he suggested: “I think we need to start looking at making it mandatory for clubs to have a five-year plan, if I was the marketing director for the league that would be the kick-off point.

“You have to have a common vision of where the league and clubs want to go, and for the appropriately qualified people to be in roles to discharge their duties.

“If you can’t tell me exactly where you want to be in five years time you are operating on a month-to-month basis and you are going nowhere,” added Mooney, who used to work for the Football Association of Ireland and used Irish club case studies such as Sligo and Shamrock Rovers as examples of teams that had quickly increased attendances from hundreds into the thousands.

Mooney reiterated that only the correctly qualified marketing staff in each club could oversee such a plan, using greater community engagement through a range of platforms. “Federations often term someone a marketing manager but that person is actually an operations manager putting signs up and putting adverts in newspapers, that’s operations not marketing. Marketing is finding the psychological link between fans and the product.

“It’s not rocket science, it just needs owners and people that run football to want to change. However that takes a special group of people to make this happen.

“Marketing shouldn’t be seen as a cost but an investment where very gifted people are matching the product with the people and creating the connection so you have people coming to the product,” he added.

UAE Pro League Committee chief executive officer Suhail Al Areefi welcomed Mooney’s comments and asked clubs to formulate their five year plans.

“After this workshop we will ask clubs to give us their plans and we will also look to include marketing plans in club licencing criteria,” he said.

“Clubs should know that this is good for them and that if they don’t have long term plans they are not working.

“It’s a big challenge but if you look three years ago the attendances were more [than now], but the money is not going on marketing anymore. It’s going on other things. It’s like Noel said, marketing is an investment and from that comes attendances and sponsors. It’s all linked, today you pay but tomorrow you will have good revenue and income if you work on it.”

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2015. All rights reserved.

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